Many years ago an elderly couple lived in distant Japan who had not had children. The man was a lumberjack and his wife helped him with his daily chores, gathering logs and lumber.
One day the two of them went out to the fields and while the man was working, she went to the river to wash clothes. What a surprise the good woman was! Floating over the water he saw a huge peach. She called her husband and between the two of them, they managed to take him to shore.
If finding a giant peach was something very strange, it was rarer what they saw inside … When they opened it, a small boy with a white complexion came out, smiling, looking at them with his large jet-black eyes. The elders were very happy and took him home. They called him Momotaro, because, in Japanese, Momo means peach.
Momotaro grew up very healthy and strong, more so than the rest of the children in the village. In time he grew into a caring young man who was loved and respected by everyone.
In those years the village was frequently assaulted by demons that turned everything upside down, stealing everything they could and terrorizing its inhabitants. The afternoon Momotaro came of age, everyone proposed that he be the one to save the town from the pesky demons.
– It is an honor for me! I will go to Onigashima, the Island of Demons and I will give them a good example not to come back here – said the young man as they put armor on him and gave him supplies for a few days.
Willing to fulfill his mission as soon as possible, he left the town and after several hours walking, the brave Momotaro came across a dog.
– Hello Momotaro… Where are you going? – Said the animal.
– I’m going to the island of Onigashima to defeat the demons.
– Can you give me something to eat that I’m very hungry? – asked the dog.
– Of course. I have corn balls… Will you come with me to the island and help me?
– Yes … I’ll go with you! – The grateful dog replied.
After a while, Momotaro and the dog came across a monkey.
– Hello… Where are you going so fast?
– We are going to Onigashima to defeat the demons of the island. Do you want to come with us? I bring delicious corn balls for everyone.
The monkey agreed and joined the group in exchange for some food. Shortly afterwards a pheasant approached them.
– Where are you going, friends?
“To Onigashima, let’s see if we can get rid of the demons,” Momotaro said.
– Perfect, I’m going to help you – said the pheasant with a somewhat shrill voice. In return, Momotaro shared his food with him as well.
They reached the coast and the strange quartet boarded a sailboat that took them to the island. When they sighted land, the pheasant flew over to have a look and returned to where the ship was.
– They’re all asleep! Come on, let’s get in! – He shouted from the air to his companions.
They disembarked and approached the great wall behind which the demons took refuge. The monkey sprang into action and climbing up the high stone wall, it jumped to the other side and opened the huge door from within. Under Momotaro’s orders, they all broke in screaming.
“Hey, hell, come out of your hiding place!” Show your face, don’t be cowards!
The demons, fresh from their long nap, were surprised to see the boy with the three animals. Before they could react, the dog began to bite them, the pheasant to peck their heads and the monkey to scratch them with its strong nails. As much as the demons wanted to defend themselves, they had nothing to do with such a brave and well-organized team.
– Ay, ay! We give up! Please leave us alone! – they pleaded desperately.
“Only if you promise to leave the people of my village alone!” – Momotaro yelled at them – I don’t want you to go near her anymore!
– Yes, yes … We will do what you say! – The demons roared with no strength to defend themselves.
– Okay… Well, now give us back everything you have stolen from my people for years!
They did so. Momotaro and his colorful friends loaded a wheelbarrow with hundreds of coins and jewels that the demons had taken from the villagers and said goodbye to the island forever.
Arriving in town, he was greeted like a hero and shared the success with his new and loyal friends.